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Discussion Post: Books that Mention Social Media

Have you ever read a book and been surprised at the characters mentioning or using Facebook, Twitter or other social media sites? Even Google?

After reading The Mephisto Covenant, I was really shocked when the main character checks her Facebook and even mentions people writing on her wall and messaging her. Plus, she definitely Googles something and talks about her search results for a bit.

    A few thoughts about social media in books:

    1.  It might date the book in the future. Because social media changes so quickly, in a few years these books might loose their “evergreen-ness” because they mention these sites.

    2. Initially, it takes me out of the reality or world of the book. My perspective shifts a bit when social media is brought up because it’s so familiar to me. It’s sort of like watching a movie with your favorite actors and then randomly, your mom shows up.

    3. It’s interesting to see how fictional characters use social media because it’s a reflection of how the author thinks real people use it. For books that are more contemporary, it adds a relatable element to the mix.

    How do you feel about social media being used in YA and/or fantasy books? Does it bother you? Do you like it?

About Lisa Parkin

I'm a hardcore lover of young adult fiction and have been reviewing books since 2011. Other interests include Downton Abbey, heat lightning storms, Harry Potter land and (begrudingly) one orange tabby.
  • Beth

    I would say it depends on the book. If we are talking about a urban fantasy set in our time it doesn’t bother me. If we are talking about a science fiction in the far future then it might. If it is high fantasy and our wizard pulls out a cell phone to pull up a GPS I might be worried.

    Beth ^_^

  • Ems

    I agree with Beth. Definitely depends on the book and the setting, but for the most part, I don’t like it.

  • I was about to say that it doesn’t really bother me, but I realize it’s probably because I read so many contemporary books. If the characters don’t have cell phones/online stuff it almost seems off to me. (Like, when there’s a problem that having a cell phone could solve in a contemporary book, it’s weird if the characters don’t have one.) But it would probably really stick out in a fantasy/paranormal story.
    I guess I haven’t really come across that yet.

  • Books that mention social media bug me too. I don’t mind if they say “email,” but if they mention a specific media type such as Facebook, Twitter, etc., then I also get taken out of the book. I think it would date it as well. I guess it depends on the the type of book. Because Matched mentions all types of electronic ports that do things, but I’m okay with those because they go with the world. But, again, they’re not specific social media sites. Yeah, I say steer clear of them.

    • Sorry that’s wasn’t very coherently said, lol.

  • Nope doesn’t bother me. I’m afraid I don’t really understand why it would =( It’s not really any different from any other brand name being mentioned, like Coach or Coke, or a store like Macy’s, etc. That’s just my opinion though. Maybe social media sites feel too close? … I don’t know, haha, it just really doesn’t bug me (assuming it’s a contemporary book, and the setting fits and all).

  • oodlesofbooks

    Although I agree with your number #3, since it does help me relate to the characters lives sometimes, your #2 hits home. I totally get weird when a fantasy book mentions social sites, especially MySpace and/or Facebook. Those are so normal in our real world that I do not want to see them in my fantasy books. If the characters need to use such things, I would rather have the author invent some other social site or something different than what I am used to. I am okay with IMing sometimes though…is that weird?

  • Melissa Hayden

    I think it’s neat that the books are now starting to put in the new techs of the current world. But Yes I think it could really date a book in the future. But there are things in books from times past that date books now, but it doesn’t take from the book at all. Like bomb shelters. 🙂 Great discussion idea!